Unity College 5K Recap – 4-21-18

Hey, I raced 🙂

The short version. I finished in the window that I expected (22:00 to 24:00), the Brooks Green Silence running shoes did fantastic, nothing broke and I got to talk running with a bunch of other runners. I even wore my Central Maine Striders’ colors and might have squeezed in an age group thingy-ma-jingy.

So yeah, I went, had fun and did alright.

Now for the nitty gritty of the recap.

It has been a really good pre-race week for me. Not a whole lot of the usual crap that goes through my noggin as race day approached, which was really nice. However, it was a long ride to Unity from Sidney by myself and I got to think all kinds of things on the way there. Luckily, when I started thinking negatively and the demons started to laugh a little about how I was going to run, I swept them aside with “there is nothing here, the runner you are looking for must be somewhere else” and just kept reminding myself that going to Unity was the first 5K race in a couple of years that I was fairly ready for and while I would run hard, it was not about anything other than competing with myself and getting to the finish line.

It worked.

Although I was a little frustrated with Unity College, it seemed that we were considered second class visitors today since it was also new student orientation going on and security dumped us down to the alternative parking lots and then had to walk a bit to get to the gym. Nothing serious, but it was rather aggravating, especially since there was still plenty of parking up by the gym before and after the race.

I guess we runners were not all that important in the overall scheme of things – at times it seemed like we were an inconvenience more than valued guests from the looks and a few comments that I overheard while walking to the gym up or warming up.

Oh well that will be their problem, not mine.

Wow, the race director didn’t even know which direction we needed to go, several Striders and other runners had to clue him in on the correct direction. Nice guy and I am sure that he was “volunteered” to organize the race at the last minute. I noticed that it was not advertised in any of the running web sites or shared much to Facebook and last month I had to contact them to find out when it was. It seems like the Unity College 5K is something that is being phased out due to lack of staff/faculty interest or official support.

It was one of the fastest Thank you for coming speeches ever and get, ready set and goes was over before I figured out we were starting. I loved that part, because at the start, I just want to get going and not have to listen to several minutes self-congratualatory statements about their cause or organization.

We just got to racing.

The weather was partly sunny, breezey windy and chilly enough that I needed the long sleeve tech shirt under my t-shirt and I never took the gloves off during the race.

Once we got going, I purposely attempted to stay right at a 7:00 minute pace for the first mile. Last time I ran this course I went out way too fast (because it is almost 3/4 of a mile of downhill) and died a bad death during mile 2. Unfortunately, I also slowed down a little too much today when I hit the flats in town and hit a comfortable pace that was about 20 seconds slower than it should have been. I had gotten into one of those “no zones” where runners were not really around me and I just was running fast enough to stay there, not really moving ahead of the other runners and not catching up to the ones in front of me.

In other words I wasn’t pushing hard enough, I was in that comfortably hard zone, but not above it where I should have been. That middle mile needed to be faster, could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, but didn’t. 🙂

When I hit the turn-around, I did start to lengthen out my stride a little and had a guy go by me. No, I didn’t go with him and I should have, he would have pulled me to a sub 22:00 and I know that I could have done it, but instead I just kept slowly increasing my pace.

Once on Main Street, I was starting to reel in the runners in front of me and if I had decided to dig a little more, I could have caught up to the 3-4 person group in front of me, instead I just kept increasing the speed slowly, that extra gear just didn’t seem to be there.

I was a little too comfortable.

I did finish a second behind the runner in front of me, so I was making up ground on them, but ran out of real estate and had not started to get my ass in gear soon enough.

However, I was only 4 seconds off my time from last time at 22:22 and know that I was in a lot better shape back in 2016, so I was pretty happy about the time and how good I felt after the race. 22:22 for the 5K is actually about where a lot of my early season races over the last 5 years have been and I have been able to improve that time by the end of September by a bit. At least the years that I haven’t injured myself doing something stupid.

 

Although there was a mix-up on the results board and we had to discuss where I finished, it seems that when I came in so close to the runner in front of me, they didn’t have time to get my number. It was an old school mistake and not a big deal, I showed them my GPS watch time and they corrected the mistake quickly.

I did end up taking the 60-69 Male age group.

The Brooks Green Silence, it was my second run in them and guess what? They were fantastic!!!! No issues, no hot spots, just focus on running, not my damn shoes – it was nice. I don’t know what made me actually get them when I did, that whole 33 seconds to make a decision, but after this race I am sure glad that I did. They will be on my feet for a few more races this year, I am certain of that.

After the race it was nice to sit and swap stories, listen to the other Striders yak and gab. Just kind of relax and enjoy being with others during the wait for the awards ceremony. They even talked me into volunteering for the Mt. Washington race in June. Nope ain’t running it, but I will give back a little by volunteering this year.

As for the Unity College 5K.

I love, love the course and wish that they ran it in late August – September not April, it would be very interesting to see what kind of time people would be running on a full summer of training with this fast of a course.

Will I be back next year? I don’t know, we will see which races are lined up against it on the calendar (if they even hold it) and how I feel about things after a while. I do prefer the small-town feel and low cost registration, but did not enjoy the attitude that I perceived from the University to the runners who were there. Although it would be too bad to loose this great little race – due to lack of interest.

Maybe I am all wrong, but it was not the welcoming feeling that I felt in 2016 and other runners also commented on some of the same things that I observed.

Overall, I was very happy with my first 5K of the year and it gave me a nice baseline of where I am and what I need to work on to get to where I want to be.

Now to work on that speed a bit more and get that second mile a bit faster.

3 thoughts on “Unity College 5K Recap – 4-21-18

  1. Excellent recap – and congratulations on the solid result and age-group win! Looks like you did everything right – and it is always better to know you could have pushed it harder … than the opposite! 🙂

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  2. wow… the race seems a bit disorganized and small, but that’s how I like them. And if this was a goal race, you could have pushed harder, sure, but it was a test race! and it looks like you passed the test! Nice running, Harold. Also, like the way they kept track of runners 🙂

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    1. Thanks, yeah a lot of the little local races tend to do the runner tracking that way. At one time this was a Striders’ race, if I have my history correct, but the RD changed a few times and they went in a different direction.

      I prefer the local races even with all their wonderful imperfections, although I don’t like being treated like an unwelcome guest or an inconvenience either. So as much as I like the course and a lot of the people I am probably going to find a different April 5K race next year to kick off my real race season. At least I plan to 🙂

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